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Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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And I said, “Well, I didn't want to be sick.”

It's interesting that at the rehearsals, I didn't identify the role that I was playing with the actuality or the reality of being sick, but at the performance, I did. You know, I just thought: well, my God, they have me behaving as if I'm sick -- and in the performance, it occurred to me that maybe to act as if you were sick really means that you're sick. So that's why I was crying. I told them that.

If I remember correctly, they thought it was funny. Well, I didn't think it was a damn bit funny.

Well, coming back to the United States, one of the things -- my problem in school, at least in the first two grades or so, was that I would sometimes go from English to Spanish, you know, because it seemed to me that that's what should have happened. Well, this was ridiculed by my classmates. And the first nickname I had was “Spanie.” This was not only the nickname that the Irish kids gave me, but the colored kids in my block gave me the nickname or carried it over. And it was a nickname of ridicule, and it seemed very clear to me that the sooner I got over my Spanish involvement, the better.

By the second grade, I had learned that if I wanted to be accepted by my peers, I shouldn't be lapsing into Spanish. So by the time I got to junior high school, I was practically flunking in Spanish.


Incidentally, beforewe get too far from Mrs. Husbands, was she a black woman?


Yes. Oh yes. In fact, I don't remember having any contact with whites before I came to America.

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